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Revista Brasileira de Terapia Intensiva

Print version ISSN 0103-507X


NOGUEIRA, Lilia de Souza et al. Nursing workload in public and private intensive care units. Rev. bras. ter. intensiva [online]. 2013, vol.25, n.3, pp.225-232. ISSN 0103-507X.


This study sought to compare patients at public and private intensive care units according to the nursing workload and interventions provided.


This retrospective, comparative cohort study included 600 patients admitted to 4 intensive care units in São Paulo. The nursing workload and interventions were assessed using the Nursing Activities Score during the first and last 24 hours of the patient's stay at the intensive care unit. Pearson's chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, the Mann-Whitney test, and Student's t test were used to compare the patient groups.


The average Nursing Activities Score upon admission to the intensive care unit was 61.9, with a score of 52.8 upon discharge. Significant differences were found among the patients at public and private intensive care units relative to the average Nursing Activities Score upon admission, as well as for 12 out of 23 nursing interventions performed during the first 24 hours of stay at the intensive care units. The patients at the public intensive care units exhibited a higher average score and overall more frequent nursing interventions, with the exception of those involved in the "care of drains", "mobilization and positioning", and "intravenous hyperalimentation". The groups also differed with regard to the evolution of the Nursing Activities Score among the total case series as well as the groups of survivors from the time of admission to discharge from the intensive care unit.


Patients admitted to public and private intensive care units exhibit differences in their nursing care demands, which may help managers with nursing manpower planning.

Keywords : Workload; Nursing staff, hospital; Hospitals, private/manpower; Hospitals, public/manpower; Intensive care units.

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